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Teachers on Ice

Thanks to funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Students on Ice Foundation offered five fully funded positions for secondary level science teachers from across Canada to join the Students on Ice 2018 Arctic Expedition.

The goal of the Teachers on Ice Scholarship Program is to recognize science educators in Canada who:

  • Share the Students on Ice mission of inspiring, engaging and educating youth;
  • Demonstrate a holistic approach to teaching and learning in their current science classroom(s); and
  • Empower students to be active and positive agents of change in their home communities and beyond.

The selected teachers will learn from scientists, Indigenous traditional knowledge holders, other teacher participants and their own Arctic experiences. They will, in turn, take their experiential education and newly acquired Arctic science knowledge back to their own classrooms and school boards to educate their students and peers.

Selected teachers will be provided a professional development opportunity that offers a new level of scientific awareness through an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and experiential context situated in the Canadian and Greenlandic North. In turn, such an opportunity impacts not only participating teacher’s professional growth, but also that of their current and future students, colleagues and the broader personal and professional community in which they are part.

We are excited to introduce our five scholarship recipients for the 2018 Arctic Expedition!

Sean Brandt, Saskatoon, SK

Sean is an outdoor education and biology teacher working at Warman High School in Saskatchewan. Sean is a proud resident of Saskatoon- the city of bridges, which boasts the beautiful University of Saskatchewan campus along the riverbank, Sean has a Masters degree in Critical Environmental Education from the U of S. Sean also serves as the current president of Saskoutdoors- a not-for-profit organization that facilitates teaching and learning for members of the public, to better equip them with the tools and knowledge required to enjoy outdoor recreation.

Sean is a father of two boys, Declan- 3 years old, and Cohen- 6 months old. Both boys enjoy hiking, camping and canoeing with dad. Sean’s wife, Sarah is the executive sous chef at the Delta Bessborough hotel situated in the heart of downtown Saskatoon along the South Saskatchewan river (you will likely see this hotel if you google image search Saskatoon).


Karine Belanger, Whitehorse, YK

Karine has been teaching in the Yukon for 18 years. For the last 6 years, she has been teaching an experiential and inquiry-based learning program called FACES to Grade 10 French Immersion students. Throughout the semester-long program, she supports her students while they step out of their comfort zone. They are presented with many situations that challenge their limits: canoeing in whitewater, biking 100 km over a mountain pass in a single day, camping in the winter and waking up at -20 C. She recognizes their successes, supports them when they are struggling, she is their ally and their mentor. She loves learning and laughing! She also enjoys cross-country skiing, bike touring, mountain biking and canoeing. Her playmates are most often her daughter Sophie, who is 10 years old, and her partner David.


Ty McNea, Collingwood, ON

Ty currently teaches grade 9 and 10 general science, senior environmental science and Indigenous studies at a small, rural high school in Central Ontario, Canada. He enjoys canoeing and kayaking, hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and dabbles in other outdoor pursuits with his wife, Lisa, and his dog, Sully.

His undergraduate degree is in Environmental Science & Physical Geography. He strongly believes in a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to teaching and education.


Jessica Painter, Portage la Prairie, MB

Jessica is a High School French Immersion Science and Social Studies teacher from Portage la Prairie, Manitoba where she was born and raised. She has a passion for the outdoors and can often be found participating in one of her many hobbies including hunting, fishing, water skiing and snowmobiling. She started her teaching career in Thompson, Manitoba where she embraced the opportunity to share her love for conservation and ecology though coaching the Envirothon Club as well as developed a course called Introduction to Resource Management. She believes in lifelong learning and is currently working on her post baccalaureate in Education.


Shoneth Leadbetter, Dartmouth, NS

Shoneth grew up in beautiful Cape Breton, Nova Scotia where she participated in and lead a wide variety of musical activities, sports, and extracurricular activities during her youth. Driven by a passion for science, engineering, and the environment Shoneth went on to complete a degree in Mechanical Engineering before pursuing a career in teaching. She currently teaches physics and math full time in Halifax, has taught English in China and Taiwan and has worked for many years with Shad, a summer enrichment program. She enjoys running and playing hockey and dodgeball in local leagues and is an avid board game and trivia fan. She coaches track and field and cross country as well as robotics. She resides in Dartmouth with her husband and almost two year old daughter. Shoneth is passionate about travelling and is extremely excited about the opportunity to explore such a unique part of the world!


To be eligible for a Teachers on Ice scholarship, you must…

  • Be a Canadian citizen
  • Be working in a formal education environment at the time of their application through to the end of the 2018-2019 academic school year and be returning for the 2019-2020 school year;
  • Be currently teaching secondary level science; and
  • Agree to a two-year leadership commitment with the Students on Ice Foundation’s education team. During this time, teachers will be asked to complete several deliverables related to their Teachers on Ice experience including: (a) delivering one professional development workshop for other educators based on their expedition experience; (b) at least one blog post to be posted on the SOI website; and (c) at least one lesson plan/learning module to be implemented with your science students that incorporates learning and critical insights gained from the expedition experience.

Applications were evaluated based on:

  • a demonstrated understanding of science literacy and ability to teach about critical and complex issues current in the world; and
  • a demonstrated willingness, ability, passion, creativity and vision to apply this experience in a transformational way with the aim to positively impact current/future students, colleagues and local community.


CMN Scientist Paul Sokoloff introduces Arctic cotton to student (c) Martin Lipman/SOI Foundation
CMN Scientist Paul Sokoloff introduces Arctic cotton to student (c) Martin Lipman/SOI Foundation
Student studies phytoplankton under a microscope (c) Martin Lipman/SOI Foundation
Student studies phytoplankton under a microscope (c) Martin Lipman/SOI Foundation

Students on Ice is proudly supported by bv02.

This website was made possible by a generous contribution from the Leacross Foundation.

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